He who seeketh, findeth

August 31, 2007

What I am thankful for on 8.31.07

Filed under: Meditation,Thanksgiving — Steve (Chessiq) @ 8:31 pm

Another month gone. Thank you Lord for the life! Thank you for my life and that of my dear friends and family.

I am thankful for the few hours I slept the past couple of days because I enjoyed the time that I was not asleep.

I am thankful for the people I work with. I am thankful for the company I work for. I am thankful for all that I have learnt. I am thankful for both the good days at work, and the not-so-good days.

I am thankful for everything that was done to make my birthday nice and memorable. I appreciate the effort that went into it. I appreciate how nice people were this week, and their presents. May God bless you a hundredfold!

I am thankful for the wonderful memories. I can go back to anytime and choose what to make me smile. So many wonderful places that I have been to. So many beautiful days I have spent with people I love or have loved.

I am thankful for my ability to make people laugh. There have been times when I have been so funny I have made myself laugh.

I am thankful for the friends that make me laugh. Almost all of them are wired in a way that they make me laugh so hard, I wonder how life would be without them.

I am thankful for my ability to laugh. I know there are some people who cannot laugh, either because of a chemical/hormonal imbalance or because of life experiences. I am thankful for my ability to “get” jokes and funny things.

I am thankful for the luck or grace or good fortune. When I look back, I wonder how some things worked out. The places I ended up, the jobs I found, the friends I made, the love I found, the help I received, the lessons I have learned. The more I reflect on such things, the more I see that I a very lucky person. So I am thankful.

I am thankful for the pain. For the times that I felt life was not worth living. For the times that there was no way out. For the heartbreaks. For the loneliness. For the low self-esteem. For the doubts. For the sins. For the things that made me angry, frustrated, and weak. All these things made me the person I am today. I love this person. All those things made me realize that I would be nothing without certain people. I would be nothing without God. It made me appreciate the books I have read, the people I have met, the faith I have gained, the education I have. I think I became more thoughtful, knowledgeable, faithful, … I just got better as a person.

I am thankful for Chess and for everything that led me to this game. I am thankful for the people who taught me how to play the game. I am thankful for the people I played the game with so that I could get better. I am thankful for the chance to meet Zengani, Kajani, JAC, Steve, and other Chess players and organizers. Mom, thanks for the support!

Thank you for the computer!

Thank you, Jules, for getting the cake for me! Happy Birthday R.C.!

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O Perfect Woman, Where Art Thou?

Filed under: Happiness,Thoughts and Reflections — Steve (Chessiq) @ 8:12 pm

A couple of days ago, I celebrated my birthday. One of the things that I did was to go through all my pictures and to reflect on what I was thinking, feeling, experiencing, doing, etc around that time. Of course, part of the story is the girls I have gone out with! My thoughts were clean. What did I go through to get that girl? How did it start? What were the first few days like? What was our first … uhm, argument? What did I like about her? What did she say she liked about me? What didn’t I like about her? What didn’t she like about me? What were the good things about the relationship? What were the not-so-good things? When did I know that it would not work? How did it end? What were the fun things we did? How creative was I? How creative was she? How did she match up to my “perfect woman”, the dream girl from my childhood? How did this relationship impact my future relationship? and on and on. It was an enlightening experience. I have grown up quite a bit. I have learnt a lot about women. I am still learning. Hopefully I will get better, not perfect. I have stopped wanting to be perfect. I have stopped looking for a perfect woman. There is none. There shouldn’t be one. I have gotten rid of the “perfect girl” from my childhood.

So, what’s my response to the question: O Perfect Woman, Where Art Thou? Thou Existeth Not! I Seeketh Thee Not. Hence, I Shall Not Find Thee!

It must be liberating to love an imperfect person… with the knowledge that I am not perfect either.

Monetizing your blog with the power of search

Filed under: Blogging,Money — Steve (Chessiq) @ 12:19 pm

It is a no-brainer that Google’s fame is a result of people’s need for information that they don’t have. Thus, they go the quickest, most accurate search engine they can find: Google. Almost everybody uses Google to search. When I go to a blog and I find some information that I need to research further, or I just want to leave the site and go somewhere else, I almost always type http://www.google.com if there is no Google search box on the website I am at. Even though I have no stats, I am sure I am not the only one who does this.

How do you monetize your blog off this?

First, you need to have Google AdSense for Search on your blog.

Second, you need to position in such that people can use it easily. Position the search box at the top where it is easily accessible and usable. Sometimes people may come to your blog or website and they don’t like what you have written that day… they are about to leave. They may search on their way out! Think and grow rich! (Click here for an example of what I mean)

Of course, most browsers have search boxes. But is the default search engine, Google? Does the user use that box? Who knows?!

August 30, 2007

Don’t slow down the good stuff

Filed under: Happiness,Reason for Breathing,Thoughts and Reflections — Steve (Chessiq) @ 7:58 pm

slow_play_turtle.jpgI was thinking about how addictions come about and how friendship and love get lost. How do people who at one time were absolute best friends end up not talking at all or run out of things to talk about in seconds? I realized quickly that the process is usually deliberate – (deliberate as in “slow”, consistent chipping and eroding, the way the elements turn rock into sand and soil).

Addictions: I have read or heard that people get addicted to good or bad stuff by starting off with small steps and then repeating them over and over while gradually increasing the time or amount of exposure to the addictive thing.

Habits: I have read or heard that if you do something at least once a day for 21 days, it will becpme a habit. It may be harder and slower at the beginning, but with more practice and exposure, you become good at it, regardless of whether the habit is good or bad.

Love and friendship: This I have heard, read, seen and experienced. You start off by not liking something that your buddy has done or said and you extend it to the person. You may start off by not doing something small that you always do when things are okay: cook or write or call or smile or talk or … thus denying the person something that has been a given or constant when things are okay. Next time something happens that you don’t like, you will default to doing what you did the last time, only this time, the not talking or calling or smiling or … takes longer. May be an hour. Next time, may be half a day. Before you know it, a whole week has passed. Then the rationalization is something like, “I guess I have proved that I can live without him or her”, or “since I have made it so far, why should I go back to the old stuff?” etc.

The point of the foregoing is that as the bad stuff picks up, the good stuff slows down until it all disappears and all you have is the bad stuff. You remain with the anger, the silence, the loneliness, the fights, the detachment, etc. The love, the laughter, the dancing, the companionship, the trust, the warmth… is gone.

Unless what you really want is to get rid of the good stuff, you ought to make the extra effort to make the good stay or at least not slow down. When it is hardest to hold hands, may be hold hands at that time. When you feel like not calling is the solution, call (unless you have a very good reason not to). When you feel like not looking into the other person’s eyes, do it. It doesn’t matter whether you always start. When you don’t feel like giving it a chance, do so. Don’t wait. If you wait, you will get good at waiting and doing what you do while waiting, and the good stuff will disappear.

The greatest thing is that whatever you choose to do, you live with the consequences. “He who seeketh, findeth!”

Thanks to http://www.golfvic.org.au/dir127/vgasite.nsf for the image.

August 29, 2007

If Warren Buffett were to live his life all over again…

Filed under: Meditation,Money,Reason for Breathing,Thanksgiving,Thoughts and Reflections — Steve (Chessiq) @ 7:26 pm

If you were to live your life all over again, what would you change? The second richest man in the world, and the greatest investor who ever lived answers that question in the video below. Please click play and then drag the “VCR timer button” to 1:22:15 to hear what he says. When I first saw the video, I decided that I would never again, wish I was born a different person. Sometimes I fail and wish things were different, but all in all, I am happy with who I am… all things considered. I get back to this video when I feel down or I wish things were different or … if I can’t find things to be thankful for.

August 28, 2007

Pay it forward

Filed under: Meditation,Reason for Breathing,Thanksgiving — Steve (Chessiq) @ 11:06 pm

pay-it-forward-pic.jpgI remember watching the movie, Pay It Forward, a couple of years ago. The only thing I remember about it, is the “random acts of kindness” that people extend to each other. You can read more about the move by clicking the link above.

What brought back the memories of that movie is a couple of kind acts that were extended to a dear friend of mine by complete “strangers”. These good Samaritans made an otherwise horrible experience, bearable and memorable. I wrote about the blessing of kindness a couple of days ago. It appears the blessings continue, and there is a reason to celebrate humanity.

How do you “repay” people for acts of kindness that they have given (to you or your loved ones)? In my opinion, there is no repayment. There acts of kindness indebt you to them forever, for you would not be the same person had they not intervened. Thus it behooves you to “Pay It Forward”. How often and how much? That depends on a couple of things. First, how much did your life improve because of the grace you received? Second, how much does the other person need for his or her life to significantly improve? Last, but not least, why are you doing it? (In answering the last question, you may want to think back and answer the question: why did that good Samaritan dress my wounds on that night?)

August 27, 2007

Choosing not to love

Filed under: Reason for Breathing,Thoughts and Reflections — Steve (Chessiq) @ 7:00 am

You can choose not to love and at the same time not dislike or hate or cause pain to the subject/object. In a way, you would act as if something or somebody does not exist.

Why would you choose to do that?
For your own good.

For example, if you have cared for somebody for a long time, and it seems that your wants, needs, desires, expectations will not be met if you continue along that path. You have no reason to dislike the person, since he or she has done nothing wrong to you. However, for your own benefit, you may need to stop and change course. Choose not to love any more.

Another example, is work or play. I love Chess. It has taken loads of my time. There were times when I almost flunked in school because Chess came first, second, third, fourth and fifth. I am not sure where anything or anybody else came in. After Chess, there were Chess players, and then… may be family, other friends (non-Chess), and I was somewhere down the list! I should have chosen not to love this game so much (if not permanently, then at least temporarily, when life called).

How do you deal with the guilt, or other challenge, that dissuades you from the path of not loving? Just continue on the new path. If you stay on the new path long enough, it is going to be so hard to change highways.

What does it benefit you if you choose not to love any more?

– You gain self-esteem from doing something that you thought was impossible to do.
– You remove one of the negatives in your life… the frustrations and all that.
– If it’s a person you are dealing with, it may be that your absence or disappearance is what was needed for him/her to realize your worth.
– If it’s a thing, you may benefit from the controlled desire, the mitigated impulses.

August 26, 2007

How many pictures for a life story?

Filed under: Reason for Breathing,Thoughts and Reflections — Steve (Chessiq) @ 3:08 pm

It’s been said, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. I decided to go through all my pictures and try to “reconstruct” my life from it. It was an enlightening undertaking. It was interesting to see myself change. To see the friends I have had over the years. I tried to figure out what I was thinking or feeling. It was interesting to see how my wardrobe changed, and I tried to figure out why it changed. Was it for a day or for a season. It was nice to remember the happy times I shared with some people that are now in the distant past or will soon move to the past if things don’t change. I miss(ed) playing Chess at tournaments and getting trophies. It was nice to see graduation pictures.

I decided to go through my pictures one more time and write my thoughts and feelings behind them… and I need to find a way to do that with the digital ones! I have huge chunks of my life without any pictures for them. May be I have emails? May be letters? May be memories? One of my friends once told me that it is not for the money, for what good is the money if you cannot enjoy it? It is not for the people to see, you have to be true to yourself. It is all for the memories and experiences; the stuff that makes you smile when you think back. As I grow older and wiser, it all rings true. Hopefully, I am able to create good memories for myself and other people as I pass through this life.

There are some things that cannot be captured on a picture or video for one reason or another, but there are there. Pictures are just a small part of the story… I wonder how many pictures would I need to tell my whole life story?

Another year gone, another one begins. Thanks for the past years and also for this new year.

For stories in pictures, here is a good site.

August 25, 2007

Determination to keep traveling

Filed under: Goals,Reason for Breathing,Thoughts and Reflections — Steve (Chessiq) @ 10:27 am

When I was younger, I used to read Moni Magazine. In it, there was an article by an Anglican Priest(?) and it was titled food for thought. It was interesting. I remember at one time he had written his “profile”. He had worked all sorts of jobs, may be 15 or more. I never thought about it until I saw several excellent blogs and the authors mentioned that they were engaged in a field totally different from the what they are blogging about. One was a Doctoral Student in something like psychology, but he has learnt a lot of technical stuff about blogging and that’s what he blogs about. I am not sure whether he is changing careers or how old he is or…

I was talking to a friend a few days ago and she mentioned that somebody she knew was licensed to fly commercial planes, even though she is a success in a totally different field, and she is pretty young. This led to a discussion of opportunities (or access to experiences and resources). I think that, though important, it is just one of the pieces of the puzzle. How do these people do it?

I think one of the major reasons is a determination, consciously or unconsciously, to keep traveling, to never arrive, to learn as much as they can (about whatever interests them). In other cases, it may be circumstances. For example, I learned to drive a semi-(truck), not because I wanted to, but because I had to. It was a nice challenging experience. I didn’t make a career out of it, and hopefully, I will not use it again! It’s not for me. But out of it, I learnt a lot of things. How to prepare for a trip, the challenges that class A drivers face when traffic is bad, or when they are driving while they are extremely tired and sleepy, the space they need for everything: parking, turning, or braking to stop. I digressed.

So, if some day, you want to be able to say “I can do that” to lots of things. You just have to learn the next thing that you have always wanted to do, and once you accomplish that, move on to the next thing. It can be as easy as touch-typing, to something a little more involving as writing programs. That’s my next project: learn html, css, etc. Some day, I will be able to tell my grand kids, “I can drive a semi, I can teach accounting, I can teach information systems, I can program, I can build websites, I can swim, I can touch-type, I can make you millionaires, etc etc…. but I could not do most of that stuff when I was 25!”

I just have to trod on!

August 23, 2007

Thankful for God’s presence

Filed under: Meditation,Reason for Breathing,Thanksgiving — Steve (Chessiq) @ 8:27 pm

mtvaag3.gifToday, I was listening to “All Things Considered” on NPR – National Public Radio. Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest, had an article on Mother Teresa of Calcutta, India. In it, he mentioned that he had just read the journal(s) of Mother Teresa which were recently published. She writes that she felt God’s absence (for 30+ years). What a long time to pray to God, and not hear anything back! What a long time, to seek God, and not find Him! I still believe that “s/he who seeketh, findeth” – but it can take a long time. It may take a life time.

Listening to the Priest made me reflect on the times that I have “experienced” God’s absence. I could not come up with specific times or instances, but I know that I could come up with a list of things that made me feel like God was absent. Unanswered prayers, unsatisfied needs and wants, worsening situations, and a ton of things that just didn’t make sense. These are just a few examples. As I always do, I considered times when I have done things that denied somebody my presence, or times when somebody did something that denied me his or her presence. It may be “small” things like being too busy to pay attention to somebody, not responding to emails or phone calls, not being available to love or be loved, etc. I went back to the times when I really needed somebody and the person was not there for some reason. How did I feel? What was the worst time? How did I feel about life? It was easy to come up with the answers because the memories are vivid.

What would it feel like to long for something or somebody and never attain resolution to the longing? What would it be like to live every single moment of the rest of your life with this unsatisfied desire/need? What would you do while this emptiness haunts you? Considering such questions made me realize how impeccable Mother Teresa was, and how lucky I am not to have such a need. I have needs, but there are incomparable to what we are discussing here. I also realized that I need to be thankful every day for God’s presence. I have read a couple of holy people’s lives in which they talked about the absence of God at times. They talked about how unbearable it was. I remember reading about Vassula‘s experiences in one of her books. It must be a terrible feeling.

Last thought: how about the times when I don’t think about God or do things that hurt God’s feelings? If He loves me the way He claims He does, (which I believe is true,) and if He longs for a close and personal relationship with me… and I don’t give it to Him, then His life must be unbearable as He waits and hopes and hurts for me to go to Him. If He hurts that bad, and then I show up some day to ask for some trivial favor that I really “need”… “fast”, how gracious of Him to even allow me to finish my “prayer”! After getting what I wanted or needed, I leave and go back to my life “without God”.

So, as I thank God for His presence in my life today, I also pray for forgiveness for my absence.

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